In Memorium: Robert Sterling

Robert Sterling had a wide and varied career. He played Topper George Kerby in the 1950’s TV series Topper, was in Showboat and even made a Blondie movie (Blondie Meets the Boss 1939). I am most familiar with him through his turn as Capt. Lee Crane (lucky dude got to smooch on Barbara Eden) in the 1961 movie “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”
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That’s him next to Walter Pidgeon…
Mr. Sterling passed away yesterday at the age of 88.

Stone Tools and Homo floresiensis

According to National Geographic a study, to be published in tomorrows issue of Nature (Could someone send me the article when it becomes available?) links the stone tools at Liang Bua to 800,000 year old tools found at nearby Mata Menge.

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The Alien Invasion: Anal Probe Explained

I’m somewhat addicted to the movie ‘Eight Legged Freaks”. I find it totally hysterical (love the song at the end…”itsy, bitsy spider crawled into moma’s bed, climbed upon her hubby and bit him in the head, moma laid there sleeping while hubby laid there dead, then the itsy bitsy spider crawled out of moma’s bed” classic!). Any way, in one scene Doug E. Doug goes on a tirade about aliens and anal probes at one point he says “…I mean, what do they expect to find there, it’s just wrong!”. Well, the question has been answered…

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Dodos at Discovery

That is the title of a post over at Red State Rabble. Check it out, it’s pretty funny (well, not for Randy Olson)! Apparently, the Discovery Institute has some objections to the film – but they are not what you think…

Intelligent Design As A Science Stopper

Biologist frequently make the argument that intelligent design is a science stopper. By resorting to the “God of the Gaps” approach ID renders science futile, biologist argue. ID proponents hate this argument.

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Ask A ScienceBlogger

My belated response to the question:

“Since they’re funded by taxpayer dollars (through the NIH, NSF, and so on), should scientists have to justify their research agendas to the public, rather than just grant-making bodies?

My answer will be longer than the 300 word suggested limit.

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In Case You are Wondering

Added Later: About an hour after I posted this they showed up and fixed the problem. So things are back to normal…
Late Friday evening the electricity started acting floopy. Next day I started calling around trying to get an electrician (on a holiday weekend no less) – if I had only walked outside in the backyard…which I got round to Sunday. One of the three power lines leading to my house had snapped. Leaving the afarensis household sans AC, refrigerator, washer, dryer, stove- you know all the big power draws. It also knocked out the power in the room where my computer sits. Tried running an extension cord but it knocked out the power in whatever room I plugged in in. One of my neighbors was kind enough to let me run an extension cord to his house (for the refrigerator) and my computer is tapped into that at the moment. In the mean time I have spent the last two days trying to get the electric company out here to fix it. Question: What could is having an emergency number if you don’t actually respond to the calls you receive? For the second day in a row they have promised me they would be here, but so far nothing. Hopefully, it will be taken care of soon but till then posts will be few and far between…until then call me hot and cranky. Oh, and I hope it snows here in St. Louis today…
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Thugs Run Amuk!

From MSNBC baboons are becoming quite a handful in Cape Town, South Africa:

Trethowan works with a team of baboon monitors, nine men recruited from a poor community whose job it is to shepherd the animals away from built-up areas.
But the baboons know they will find dustbins full of leftovers in the suburban yards and that an open window can mean there is a bowl of tempting fruit within easy reach.
The troop splits into two and they charge across a road toward the houses. The monitors drive some of them back to the reserve, but others hurdle garden walls and grab what they can.
“They’re getting used to getting easy food,” said Trethowan. “The way to stop it is for people to install baboon-proof garbage cans, put burglar bars on their windows and avoid growing fruit trees in their gardens.”

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Multiple Body Clocks?

According to Science Daily the body may have more than one clock:

Our latest research suggests that a separate but likely related clock resides in the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is involved in several important body functions, such as body temperature regulation, metabolism, mood, stress response and reproduction. The research also suggests that other peripheral clocks reside throughout the body and that these clocks are perhaps interconnected.”

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How Children Learn About God and Science

This is interesting.

But the study revealed an interesting sidebar that is tougher to explain. Among things they can’t see, from germs to God, children seem to be more confident in the information they get about invisible scientific objects than about things in the spiritual realm.
“We don’t have a firm view on why it is they’re a bit more confident on the scientific information,” said Paul Harris, a professor of education at Harvard University. “But one possible plausible reason is that when we talk about things like germs or body organs, we talk in a very matter-of-fact fashion. We don’t say, “I believe in germs,” we simply take it for granted that they exist.”
On the other hand, adults tend to assert the existence of God more strenuously, possibly raising doubts in children’s minds as to the existence of an unseen deity, Harris said.

The study is available here
Okay, the link is fixed…

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